Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1133–1150 | Cite as

Studies on forest health and vegetation changes in Greece under the effects of climate changes

  • V. ChrysopolitouEmail author
  • A. Apostolakis
  • D. Avtzis
  • N. Avtzis
  • S. Diamandis
  • D. Kemitzoglou
  • D. Papadimos
  • C. Perlerou
  • V. Tsiaoussi
  • S. Dafis
Original Paper


Greece, as part of the Mediterranean Basin, is projected to be among the most vulnerable countries to climate change. It is therefore quite urgent to adapt forest management to the changing climate in order to enhance biodiversity and to enable the conservation of healthy and productive forests. In the framework of the project LIFE+ AdaptFor (, an effort was made to understand the ecological responses and the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in the face of climate change; the overall aim of the project is the development and implementation of appropriate adaptation strategies. Four study areas were selected where changes in vegetation, quite likely attributed to climate change, have already been observed (dieback of Scots pine and Greek fir, intrusion of conifers in broadleaved forests). To investigate the synergism of climatic parameters’ alterations in the development of the occurring phenomena, time series of temperature and precipitation for the period 1950–2009 were produced and parameters of forest status were investigated, including mapping of vegetation changes through remote sensing. The findings support the hypothesis that climate change has an impact on forest health; the dieback of tree species can be attributed to outbreaks of pathogens (fungi and insects) which are associated with climatic parameters. However, the intrusion of conifer species into broadleaved forests showed no direct connection to climatic parameters, something that needs to be further investigated. In all cases, insufficient or inappropriate management practices applied in the areas exacerbated the occurring phenomena.


Forest health Vegetation changes Climate change Pinus sylvestris Abies cephalonica 



The current study was conducted in the framework of the project LIFE+ ENVIRONMENT POLICY AND GOVERNANCE, LIFE08 ENV/GR/000554, entitled AdaptFor “Adaptation of forest management to climate change in Greece” which is implemented by the Goulandris Natural History Museum/Greek Biotope-Wetland Centre (EKBY) in cooperation with the General Directorate for the Development and Protection of Forests and Natural Environment/Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (GDfDPFNE/MinEECC). The project duration is 3.5 years and its budget amounts to EUR 1,719,112. With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Chrysopolitou
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Apostolakis
    • 1
  • D. Avtzis
    • 2
  • N. Avtzis
    • 3
  • S. Diamandis
    • 2
  • D. Kemitzoglou
    • 1
  • D. Papadimos
    • 1
  • C. Perlerou
    • 2
  • V. Tsiaoussi
    • 1
  • S. Dafis
    • 1
  1. 1.The Goulandris Natural History Museum/Greek Biotope-Wetland Centre (EKBY)ThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Forest Research Institute, NAGREFThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Forestry and Natural Environment ManagementT.E.I. of KavalaDramaGreece

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